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Jane Campion took home the Critics Choice award for Best Director for her work on “The Power of the Dog.” But some fans weren’t too pleased with part of her acceptance speech from her, in which she compared her struggles from her to those of Venus and Serena Williams.

When Campion took the stage to accept her award Sunday night, she first poked fun at the fact that she was the only female nominee, as has become fairly common over the years. But then, she spoke to the Williams sisters directly, who were at the show in support of “King Richard,” the movie telling the story of their father and childhood.

“I give my love out to my fellow—the guys. The nominees,” Campion said with a laugh. “And you know, Serena and Venus, you are such marvels. However, you do not play against the guys like I have to.”

You can watch the moment in the video above.

The camera then immediately went to Venus Williams, who looked visibly surprised at the comment. “Venus’ face says it all,” one person tweeted.

Between Sunday night and Monday morning, Campion’s comments drew widespread criticism, with some dubbing it “cringe commentary” and “unnecessary, petty & ugly.”

“Jane Campion, how exactly does diminishing and stomping all over the constant misogynoir Venus and Serena face help you, a white woman, climb the ladder…how ugly and privileged of you,” one person tweeted.

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Another called out that the Williams sisters have indeed played against men before, having competed in mixed doubles tournaments.

“She’s really playing on Venus + Serena Williams’ names when they’ve both won multiple grand slams in mixed doubles—aka against ‘the guys,’” they said. “Lol @ a white woman trying to undercut the achievements of two of the greatest players of all time and she couldn’t even get the facts right.”

You can check out more reactions to Campion’s words below.


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